I often wax lyrical about how most of the albums that still stand up as favourites years down the line weren't the ones that really impressed on their first spin on the hi-fi. Most albums that impress straight away do so because they are, in a nut shell, shallow; that is to say, you hear everything that there is to hear instantly, and every repeat listen only serves to diminish the record's appeal. The albums that stand the test of time are more often than not the ones in which the currents run deeper; repeat listens are required to fully expose the subtlety of the work, and each further listen reveals new, intriguing facets and enhances the experience of the listener. I'm not one to blow my own trumpet (much, at least, and this isn't all that much of an achievement anyway...), but it's fair to say that I listen to a lot of music - and crucially a large percentage of the music I listen to is new music . so I think I am fully qualified to make the following statement:
Albums that blow you away on their first listen and still sound amazing hundreds of listens down the line are exceedingly rare occurrences.
I listen to at the very least five or six new albums every week, and in the last three or for years I can only think of one record that blew me away when I first heard it and still sounds as fresh and impressive today. I'm certainly not saying that these albums are any better than the ones that you grow to love (to be honest, about 70% of my all-time-favourite albums weren't ones that impressed first time around - I think the act of growing to love a record over time leads to a stronger relationship with said album) but the very fact of their rarity makes them something special, something to be treasured.
Now what, I hear you gasping with bated breath, does this lengthy preamble have to do with Broadcast 2000's first full-length record, Broadcast 2000. Well, quite frankly this album knocked me for six. By the middle of the opening track I was entranced, and sat still and utterly captivated until the record's closing moments. For the reasons I mentioned above I delayed reviewing it for about a week; would this be just another shallow piece of work that says all it has to say on the first listen. After a week of constant listening I can say that shallow it is not. Whether or not I'm still equally enamored of Broadcast 2000 a year down the line only time can tell, but I'm pretty confident that this album's going to be a favourite for a good long while.
As is always the case, accompanying this record through my letterbox was a sheet full of the inevitable PR gumph and hyperbole, but in this case I'm inclined to believe it. It seems that Joe Steer, the wunderkind behind Broadcast 2000, has been doing rather well for himself; his 2008 debut EP Building Blocks must have ended up in the right ears, as this LP was produced by Eliot James (he co-produced the third Kaiser Chiefs album with Mark Ronson, and his credit can be found on tracks by Bloc Party and Kate Nash) and features violin by Tom Hobden from Noah and the Whale (who's album was produced by non other than, you guessed it, Eliot James). In fact, the string arrangements on this record are one of the things that really stand out as being above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty excellent; subtle, yet choppy and angular enough to be really interesting even though they are buried amongst so many other elements. I'm not often one to make "it-sounds-like-the-music-of-x-fused-with-the-music-of-y" style comparisons, but the glockenspiel and esoteric percussion on this album put me in mind of nu-folk scenster Adem's 2006 LP Love and Other Planets, but while the songs on Love... were sprawling, introspective pieces, the songs on Broadcast 2000 are actually rather energetic and approachable.
Long Story Short: Will Broadcast 2000 live up to my expectations and be the elusive prize of all music obsessives - an album that gives an astoundingly great first impression and continues to deliver years down the line. We'll have to wait and see, but in this instance the chances are far higher than normal. This is an absolute blinder of an album and I strongly urge all of you to grab yourselves a copy when it's released. The LP Broadcast 2000 will arrive on the 22nd of February, courtesy of Groenland Records.
Broadcast 2000 - Rouse Your Bones
Broadcast 2000 - Get Up and Go
Addendum: at the request of the band these tracks are stream-only, but they have (in an excellent and blog-savvy move) provided a couple of acoustic tracks for download:
Broadcast 2000 - Pep Talk (acoustic)
Broadcast 2000 - Everybody & Me (acoustic)